Samsung UN60F7100 60-in. LED HDTV

Print

Product: Samsung UN60F7100 60-in. LED HDTV
Provided By: Samsung Canada
Price: ~$1,999 Online at Time of Publication

Introduction:

I like nice TVs.  I don't actually spend a lot of time watching TV, but it's nice to have a great unit for those moments when I get a chance to sit down and relax with a movie, watch a game or even play some Xbox.  There is a lot of competition in the TV market and the truth is there is also a big "Spec War" that is designed to try and get you to buy a new TV.  Things like contrast ratio, refresh rates and more are all designed to create unrest in the consumer and make him buy a new TV.  That being said, some of the features are significant improvements over older technology and today we are looking at a mid-high end TV from Samsung that has a lot of "Smart" features and promises good performance as well as all of the 3D features we really don't want, but often get anyhow.  The UN60F7100 is a 60" 3D HDTV that is backlit by LEDs and has a great couple of remotes with touch pads that make navigation and all the multimedia features of the TV very intuitive.

At 60 inches, this is not the largest TV we've looked at but it's pretty darn close and it will take a fair bit of space in your living room.  If you're looking for a new TV, make sure you check out this review to find out if the dual-core processor in the TV and the Smart features add up to a good value or if you could actually save some money and go with a different model.  Perhaps you'll actually want to step things up and go with a 7500 series TV and get everything while you're upgrading.

Box

 

First Impressions:

As you can see above, this TV is flashy starting from the box and going deeper.  Samsung has opted for an extra $10 on the box to print off all the graphics in order to get you to notice this TV at the store and pick one up.  Once you pull it out of the box things just keep getting better and better.  The TV itself is very classy.  It has a nice narrow chrome trimmed bezel around the outside of the screen and the minimalistic stand seems stable enough.  That being said, when you wall-mount a TV like this it looks even better.

TV Profile
TV Profile

TV Rear
TV Rear

 

This TV is a small step down from the 8000-Series TV we looked at a while back, but the looks and curb appeal are still top-notch.  It is classy and elegant and that's a nice thing.  It will look good in pretty much any room that there is space for a monster that measures five feet from corner to corner.  Wowzers.

Bundled Goodies:

Most of the time a TV bundle includes a remote and maybe an HDMI cable if you're really lucky.  The TV we're looking at today came with a few extra goodies - including two remotes and (not pictured) four pairs of 3D glasses.  These glasses are active shutter glasses but are the cheaper variety and are identical to the ones that came with the 8000-Series TV we reviewed.

Bundled Goodies
Bundled Goodies

Remotes Close
Remotes Up Close

 

I find it interesting that Samsung has once again included a couple of remotes with this TV.  As you can see above, the remote on the right is the same as we've seen with the 8000-Series, and the one on the left is a new model to us.  Both of these remotes have a voice button and a microphone for voice commands.  They also have a touch-sensitive area that allows you to navigate menus and at times move a mouse pointer around the screen.  They also have buttons that will take you quickly to the SmartHub.  I really like the new remote on the left and have used it almost exclusively through the duration of this review.  I am a fan.

On the next page we'll take a closer look at the TV and cover the features before we post up the specifications and get into testing.


Closer Look & Features:

As this is an LED-backlit TV, it is much thinner than its Plasma counterpart.  Still, it's nothing like the 9000-Series we saw almost two years ago.  Now it seems like everything should be super thin and sleek.  The reality is that this 9000-Series TV is still extremely expensive and the 7100-Series is priced to move.

 

There are quite a few inputs on this device and it should be enough for most users.  There are a couple of USB ports to get you started as well as a total of four HDMI-ports.  There are also several types of audio out connectors including option and standard 1/8" stereo.  To complete some of the old-school connections we also find a single Component video setup and a LAN port for connecting to your network.  Just as with the 8000-Series TV, there is no VGA connector and you'll have to rely on an HDMI connector to hook up your PC.  This shouldn't be a big deal for most people as many laptops have VGA and HDMI connections.  My laptop does not however and I had to use a Dock that supports DVI output and use a DVI-HDMI cable.  My laptop boasts both VGA and mini-Display Port connections.

Logo

Stylish Logo

Nexus 4 - For Scale

Nexus 4 - For Scale

Features:
 
Smart and beautiful, the F7100 LED compliments your living space and the images on screen with its contemporary style. All of the Smart TV benefits, plus outstanding picture quality and speed, prove that this beauty has substance. Micro Dimming adds greater detail to dark backgrounds while Clear Motion Rate eliminates the chance of blurry frames during fast-moving scenes. A powerful Dual Core processor ensures the F7100 runs fast, supports all of the Smart TV benefits. The F7100 is more than just a TV; it’s a Samsung Smart TV.
 
See every detail in your favourite movies and TV shows
Now you can experience better shadow detail and a sharper picture. Micro Dimming divides your TV screen into dozens of different areas. It then analyzes each area and changes the brightness to better reflect the specific scene and create deeper blacks where necessary. Amidst dark scenes, it creates the perfect contrast and allows for better picture quality so you can see the details that you never knew existed. With Micro Dimming, you’ll get a more accurate picture.
 
Capture every detail of even the fastest action
On some TVs, quick motion can appear blurred or choppy, but with Samsung’s Clear Motion Rate, you’ll experience remarkable clarity in even the fastest scenes. Clear Motion Rate automatically calculates how well the TV needs to perform with fast-moving images. The higher the rating (e.g. 720CMR), the better the TV can display fast-moving details. From sports to action-packed movies, get a better, faster and fuller HDTV experience.
 
Multi-task on your TV with the power of Dual Core
Now you can access apps, access the Internet and watch a movie at the same time. Dual Core makes your Samsung Smart TV more efficient by processing information twice as fast as normal internet enabled TVs*
*Based on internal testing
 
 
The gateway to a revolutionary entertainment experience
Get all the excitement with Samsung’s all new Smart Hub. Now, get immediate access to live TV recommendations based on your tastes and viewing patterns and get easy access to all your favourite apps, photos, videos and music. And what’s even better is that you can share all this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and even make video calls on Skype. Samsung’s AllShare creates a wireless home network for you to enjoy content from all compatible devices. More features, double the fun.
*Screen image picture is a representation and may not reflect actual user interface.
*Content, TV services and capabilities may not be available in all region and territories.
 
Superior craftsmanship meets elegant minimalism
The immaculate design of the F7100 exudes an air of sophistication and luxury that adds elegance to any home. Its crisp metal finish stand gives it a truly distinctive touch that gives off a feeling of minimalism. The meticulous attention-to-detail ends in a work of art, with a truly sumptuous addition to any modern household.
*Product image is a representation. Actual colours and stand designs may vary by region.

 

On the next page, we'll take a look at the specifications before we jump into testing.


Specifications:

Once again, the following information has all been pulled from the Samsung product page and posted here for your convenience.  If you need more information, please head on over to the product page and get all the details.

Specs

Specs2

Specs

Specs

Specs

 

On the next page we'll cover some of the basic features and functions of the remote control before we head into the TV testing.


TV Menus:

While the TV certainly works out of the box, you can hop into the Picture, Audio and Sources menus to tweak things to your liking.  I really like the Anynet+ and HDMI-CEC features that automatically switch to the appropriate device when it is powered on.  This makes things easier and requires one less step when switching from the X360 to a Blu-Ray movie.  As you can see, there are several DLNA devices connected.

Out of the box, the TV is set to Dynamic Mode and this actually tones down the brightness and offers a very vivid picture.  Samsung hasn't boosted the color and saturation of this device through the roof in order to make it appear eye-catching and if you wanted it brighter and more vivid, there is room for that.  Still, out of the box settings worked just fine.

 

There are a few menu tools that help you get tighter control over your TV.  There is also a built in webcam that allows you to use the TV for Skype among other things - including gesture control.  Think of this as Kinect for your TV.

 

The Smart Hub is where a lot of good stuff happens and where you can quickly access things like YouTube, Samsung Apps and a lot more.

 

Overall, this TV was fast, responsive and simple to use.  On the next page we'll analyze the TV objectively as we test out this unit.


A Word About Testing:

In everything we try to be fair, accurate and as objective as possible when it comes to testing hardware.  In the past, LCD reviews were done completely subjectively, but we have purchased some equipment that takes some of this out of the equation.  Take a look at our LCD Testing methodology over here to get a better idea of how we test LCDs.

Color Accuracy:

We started things off by breaking out the LCD Spyder and finding out how well this unit is set up and how well it produces accurate color.  We did this using the HDMI/DVI connection.

Calibrated

Display Calibrated

As you can see, the initial color profile was not too bad off.  In fact, the biggest adjustment on the entire TV was the brightness.  Samsung has tuned this TV to have an insanely bright picture and as such it works great in very bright rooms.  This is nice for sure, but in reality it can be a bit hard on your eyes with the brightness and the backlight turned to default settings.  In our review we setup this TV to be "accurate" according to DataColor's software.  In the end, the picture did indeed look a bit better when calibrated.  It was a bit softer and the colors were not quite as overly vivid.  It was a nice, subtle change for the better.

 

Contrast Ratio & Uniformity:

With the display now showing "perfect", we proceeded to take our contrast readings.  With the display calibrated we set out to find the "real" contrast ratio of the UN60F7100.  The updated software for the DataColor Spyder 3 Elite measure contrast ratio at different brightness settings as part of the lighting uniformity tests.  It runs the lighting uniformity and contrast ratio tests at 0% brightness on the TV settings as well as 25%, 50%, 75% and full on 100% brightness.  As you may expect, as the brightness level increases, the contrast ratio gets worse and the sweet spot is at 25% brightness.  At this setting the TV hits an amazing 22,004:1 contrast ratio.  When we tuned the TV for testing, it was set at 36% brightness, so the contrast ratio was still very good at this setting.  The graphic below shows how the contrast ratio and backlight bleeding affect overall contrast performance.

Contrast Ratio

 

This time around we performed the lighting uniformity tests with the DataColor Spyder 3 Elite.  It measures and collects information at 50%, 67% 83% and 100% brightness levels.  You can see that there is a bit of difference on the images for sure.  One thing that you should pay attention to is the percentage of difference on each chart.  Take a look below and then we'll recap.

Screen Uniformity @ 100%

Screen Uniformity @ 100%

Screen Uniformity @ 83%

Screen Uniformity @ 83%

   

Screen Uniformity at 67%

Screen Uniformity at 67%

Screen Uniformity @ 50%

Screen Uniformity @ 50%

In the uniformity tests above, at 100% brightness, there was up to a 35% difference in brightness from the hottest spot to the coolest spot.  While this seems incredible diverse, it's pretty typical of LED TVs.  Once we dim it down to 83% brightness, you can see some of the colors smooth out a bit.  You'll still notice that the top left is the coolest spot on the TV.  At 67% brightness, the uniformity got even worse.  At this setting we are seeing the cooler spots almost half as bright as the hottest spot in the center.  When viewing an image at this brightness, you can actually see the difference in brightness here.  Although when watching a movie or TV, you still can't really notice much of a difference.  

Finally we look at the uniformity at 50% brightness.  At this brightness setting - which is the closest to being the accurate adjustment - brightness uniformity comes into line and reaches a 16% difference.  This is very acceptable is instills some confidence in this display.

 

Conclusion:

3D TV is not all it's cracked up to be, yet still Samsung is still betting on this feature to sell a few more TVs before 4K really hits mainstream.  In the end, it is a good thing that Samsung includes four pairs of glasses with this TV and it helps add value to the product for sure.  At the very least, this is a $100 value that you may or may not like.  Still, for those times when the kids have friends over, you do have glasses for four people.  The truth is there is a lot of extra value with this TV.  The extra remote is a nice touch as well, but once you start using the smaller one - the one with virtually no buttons - you'll fall in love with it and probably never use another remote again.  I was impressed at how easily the remote was to get used to.  Typically you're used to a large remote with a bunch of buttons and now you're down to a few buttons and a touch pad.  I love it.

While the 3D feature doesn't add a lot of value to me, the remotes do.  Also the SmartHub is finally usable as it loads very fast thanks to the dual-core processor.  This is a huge bonus and I found myself looking through content on here more than once - which is a lot more often than I used on older TVs that initialized so slowly.  Still, it requires a good internet connection to fully enjoy and if you have a bandwidth cap, it will make it that much easier to exceed you cap and push you into the overages territory.

Voice Control is still a work in progress - and it operates much like the Ford Sync.  It has a very limited vocabulary and doesn't always pick up what you're trying to say.  It's an interesting idea, but I don't think it will offer that much in the way of value for a TV - yet.  

Overall, I am a fan of this TV.  The picture quality and audio is very nice and sharp and once it was calibrated properly, the image looked even better.  It was too vivid and sharp out of the box and movies such as Star Trek "Into Darkness" looked too vivid and therefor looked very fake and sound-staged.  Once the image was tuned correctly, it looks very good.  Very, very good.

Pros:
  • Smart Touch Remote
  • Up-converts 2D to 3D well
  • Full network media support
  • Apps, Widgets and Smart Hub with Family Story and Kids sections
  • Excellent image quality 
  • Fast, non-laggy menus
  • Two remotes
 
Cons:
  • No VGA connection
  • 3D Glasses are really cheap

BCCRating

 

I'd like to thank Samsung for sending us this TV for the review.  It was interesting and fun to talk to my TV - and not actually be crazy.  It will be hard going back to a smaller screen for my Xbox gaming.  If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the forum at the link below.